The Eagle Mountain Sanctuary on Dollywood’s property is the largest aviary of non-releasable Bald Eagles in the world. These eagles have been wounded in the wild, or orphaned in their nests and brought to East Tennessee to be raised in captivity and cared for by the good people of the American Eagle Foundation. Eagle Mountain Sanctuary is located in Craftsmens Valley across form the blacksmith’s shop, right next to the Wings of America Theater. This makes it easy to find and of course the ability to look up the side of the mountain and watch eagle sin nature on the side of the Great Smoky Mountains is simply wonderful.
As you walk toward the netting that is used to protect the eagles and keep them safe inside the sanctuary you will feel as if you are stepping out of yourself, and certainly stepping out of Dollywood. It is almost otherworldly. The eagles have built nests and inherited nests on the side of this mountain. You get a feel for the enormity of the nests, the size of these beautiful creatures. You also get to hear them as they interact.
You might even hear the eagles before you see them on the mountain. They screech and chirp to each other making the wonderful noises you will ever hear. They are very social animals. They do not usually live in quarters quite this tight but they seem to get a long and they are well cared for. The eagles in the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary are being rehabilitated or can simply not be released back into the wild. This is as close as you will ever get to a bald eagle.
Unless of course, you turn around and go to the smaller pens near the eagle gift shop. Here some of the more well behaved eagles are in smaller enclosures that allow you to get much closer to the eagles and see them moving around and interacting with their environment. Especially for young people and people that have never seen eagles before this is a treat and you will find that you spend countless minutes watching the birds hop and flit from tree to tree.
The Eagle Mountain Sanctuary is one of the most wonderful attractions and exhibits in Dollywood. They have an amazing exhibit and they do a great deal of good for the bird that is the symbol of our country. It is hard to believe that some of these eagles have been injured by hunters and cannot return to the wild but it is good to know that the professionals that are taking care of them have the best interest of the eagles at heart.